Non-fiction anyone?

 Many who write fiction turn to non-fiction as resource and reference. Others read non-fiction while working on their own fiction. A palate cleanser? A way to focus on your own voice without being swayed into that of another author?  Both, probably. While at university I studied history along with architecture and maintain an interest in history and biography. A few books make their way from my husband’s nightstand to mine – he comes from a European perspective, heavily tinged with architecture. Some recent favorites: If Venice Dies, by Salvatore Settis. We have lived in Venice a few times and it remains one of our favorite cities. Settis delves into the history and future of the city, contextualizing both in terms of tourism, which has been a constant in la Serenissima’s evolution. Soviet Space Dogs, by Olesya Turkina. We always have pairs of Jack Russell Terriers. The boys are named for Pritzker prize winning architects (Alvaro and Rem so far) while the girls have Russian names (Sabatchka and Laika). This book was a gift from my nieces in honor of Laika, the first dog sent into space. Unfortunately, the ending is too sad so we’ve never read that far. But otherwise a lovely tribute to her sacrifice for science. At the Strangers’ Gate by Adam Gopnik. We had the great pleasure to hear Gopnik speak a few years ago. Most entertaining! My husband, in particular, enjoyed this book since he was also in New York City in the 1980s. Gopnik adds complexity to any story but his ability to insert his experiences into the issues of the city is remarkable.    I’ve had a food and restaurant obsession recently (technically related to book research) and have greatly enjoyed Sous Chef by Michael Gibney, anything and everything by Anthony Bourdain (starting with Kitchen Confidential). Add to that anything written by Ruth Reichl, Gourmet’s editor-in-chief and former restaurant critic for the New York Times. Also on the research front, I have enjoyed Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, written by Dava Sobel. This slim volume lives up to the title in marvelous story-telling fashion. Next on my plate are a few biographies: Ron Chernow’s Hamilton and Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. What are your non-fiction favorites? 

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